Williams Ties Wesleyan 1-1 in Little Three Matchup

Malcolm Singleton '18
Malcolm Singleton '18

MIDDLETOWN, CONN.- The Williams College Ephs tied the Wesleyan University Cardinals 1-1 this afternoon on Wesleyan's senior day. It was an important match for Little Three rankings and NESCAC seeding, and both teams hustled throughout 110 minutes of play. Alec Haas put the Cardinals on the board at 24:11, and Liam Bardong '20 responded six minutes later, but the game ended in a draw after two overtimes.

Williams moved the ball well and kept play mostly in the Wesleyan end during the first 10 minutes of the match. Mark Sisco-Tolomeo '18 sent a smart pass to Sean Dory '19, whose shot sailed above the net. Sisco-Tolomeo also ran hard to interrupt a pass on the next play and took the ball down the sideline, but his cross was cleared. Chris Fleischer '20 attempted a shot off of a give-and-go that went high and tried another from behind the 18 that was saved by Cardinal goalkeeper Brian Harnett.

Wesleyan began to earn more chances as the game continued. Jack Wolf displayed good footwork on the left side, and the Cardinals received several corner kicks but could not convert. In the 25th minute, they found the back of the net as Haas sent a low, strong shot to the right of Eph goalkeeper Bobby Schneiderman '18. Trevor Devanny was credited with the assist.  

The Wesleyan lead did not last long- at 30:24, Bardong stole the ball at the 18-yard line and launched a powerful shot to the lower right side of the net.

The Ephs had a few opportunities to gain the advantage toward the end of the first half. Sisco-Tolomeo took a shot from outside of the box that went left. A well-placed chip from Eli Petrik '21 found Demian Gass '20 racing past the Wesleyan back line, but Gass's shot was also left of the post. At the break, Williams led 6 to 2 in shots and 2-1 in shots on goal.

The Cardinals came out aggressively on offense when play resumed. Wolf sent a cross into the box, where it lingered dangerously before being cleared. He and Devanny also posted shots before Williams began to threaten. Bardong sent a low ball toward the net from the left side of the box, but Harnett made the save.

The game became increasingly physical as it wore on, and both teams received several set pieces. Bardong headed a corner kick wide, a Wesleyan free kick was also headed out of bounds, and Garrett Hardesty headed another a Cardinal corner kick above the crossbar.

Williams added pressure with approximately 20 minutes remaining in regulation. Bobby Fabricant '20 found room in the midfield and tried a shot from distance. The ball took a strange bounce, but Harnett remained composed and made the save. Eric Hirsch '20 hustled along the right flank, and Milan Jones '18 also sent a cross into the box from the right side. Co-captain Tobias Muellers '18 got his head on the ball, but Harnett secured it. Williams then earned three consecutive corner kicks yet still struggled to convert.

In the final minutes of the second half, both teams had scoring chances. The Ephs blocked two shots from Komar Martinez-Paiz, who then made an impressive feint at the top of the box to create space for a third attempt that Schneiderman saved. The Cardinals even put the ball in the back of the net in the 82nd minute, but the referees had whistled offsides before the shot was taken. At the opposite end of the field, Gass recorded a shot, and Harnett made an excellent save after Fleischer sent a low ball toward the goal. Not to be outdone, Scheiderman had a phenomenal save in the final seconds of regulation that sent the match to overtime.

At the beginning of the first overtime, Haas attempted to split the Eph defenders, but Nick Ranieri '21 blocked his pass. Soon after, Ranieri sprinted to prevent the ball from going out of bounds and passed to Sisco-Tolomeo, who set up Malcolm Singleton '19 at the 18. Harnett saved Singleton's shot, and Cardinal forward Nicolas Koch sent a shot just wide on the counter, so the game continued into double overtime.

Both teams were desperate to secure the victory during the fast-paced second overtime period. Long throws allowed Wesleyan to penetrate the Williams defense, but they could not capitalize. On the opposite side of the pitch, Andrew Mathew '19 had two strong crosses for the Ephs, and Scatt Macdonald '19 attempted two shots, but the first was blocked, and the second was saved. Sisco-Tolomeo and Fabricant also pushed forward, but Fabricant's shot was sent away.  

With just over a minute remaining, the Cardinals received a free kick in a dangerous position, about 25 yards from the goal line. Martinez-Paiz launched a shot from the spot that sailed high. Singleton and Petrik then fought on offense in the final seconds, but the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Overall, Williams led 23-15 in shots and 9-3 in shots on goal. Harnett made 8 saves while Schneiderman recorded 2.

Head Coach Erin Sullivan '96 said that the Ephs will work on controlling the ball and making the most of scoring chances before their final three NESCAC contests. 

"[It's] disappointing to not come away with three points today," he acknowledged. "But we take one and move forward. We have to quickly turn the page and focus on keeping possession and finishing our chances, both areas well within our control that will take our team to the next level."

Tomorrow, the Ephs travel to Wellesley, Mass. to face Babson in their final non-league game of the season. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m.

Williams falls to Tufts 1-0
October 21, 2017 Williams falls to Tufts 1-0